Recently, the term state capture has been popularized in the advent of a visible Zambian private sector in the presence of fiscal. Although the phrase reminds many of sagas closer to home such as the Guptas of South Africa, it is important to put context to the subject matter.
A quick google search for the phrase defines it as “a type of systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making processes to their own advantage”.
A history check further reveals that the term was first used by the World bank in the 2000s when they were describing the situation in a certain Central Asian country that was making its transition from Soviet communism.
Zambia has been in the Western and subtly Eastern lime light in so far as issues around the country being open for business, debt destress resolutions, and a return to “an enabling environment”.
Without a doubt, the roadshows (majority to the west) by fiscal have definitely pointed the investment spotlight on Zambia. However, there is also a voice that has now started to amplify itself in light of the “open door” policy. This is the voice of local Zambia businesses, many of which have been extant players in various industries.
Zambia’s legacy private sector has been known for advocacy that some believe can help local industries grow. It is no secret that the country’s GDP, unlike countries where state capture has been mooted, has been sluggish. Therefore, it is no surprise that audibility of our local private sector’s voice is currently being amplified because it’s very survival is under threat if certain policies that event the incumbent fiscus acknowledges need to be revised to create the much needed positive business environment.
According to the Purchasing Managers Index from Stanbic Bank Zambia for the period 2020 to 2022, growth for private sector was sluggish. The ailing health of the economy due to debt destress with fiscal crowding out access to finance whilst compounded by the wrath of Covid-19, meant that private sector was..is in perilous times. So, an appearance by leading titans of Zambian industry knocking at the door of fiscal may not be a quest to reign in political power for influence commercial intent. But it may just be the final flight to save their industries from certain death. For private sector is the life blood of any economy.
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